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A strong Ernesto Frieri closes Cactus League season in Angels win

March 27, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Ernesto Frieri ended spring training with his best performance of the Cactus League season, retiring the side in the ninth inning of the Angels' 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers.
Ernesto Frieri ended spring training with his best performance of the Cactus… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

TEMPE, Ariz.— A brutal spring for the Angels bullpen ended on a high note Wednesday when closer Ernesto Frieri retired the side in order in the ninth inning of a 6-3 exhibition victory over the Texas Rangers in Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Frieri got Yangervis Solarte to pop to third and Jeff Baker to fly to right, and he struck out Julio Borbon in the Cactus League finale, as the Angels left Arizona with a 9-18-4 record.

“That’s the best Ernie has looked all spring,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “So that’s encouraging.”

Afterward, the Angels made two moves to bolster their pitching depth, acquiring right-hander Elvin Ramirez from the New York Mets for cash considerations and acquiring right-hander Dane De La Rosa from Tampa Bay for right-hander Steve Geltz, who was optioned off the 40-man roster Tuesday.

De La Rosa, 30, spent most of 2012 at triple-A Durham, going 0-4 with a 2.79 earned run average and 87 strikeouts in 54 games. He has played 13 minor league seasons.

Ramirez, 25, split 2012 between double-A and triple-A, going 3-2 with a 2.13 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 55 innings. He has a 5.48 ERA in 20 big-league appearances.

Ramirez was added to the 40-man roster, but both pitchers are expected to start in the minor leagues. The Angels signed veteran reliever Mark Lowe to a minor league contract before the game.

Relievers Jerome Williams, Kevin Jepsen and Sean Burnett also pitched Wednesday to mixed results.

Williams gave up two runs and three hits in the third inning but followed that with three straight scoreless innings, striking out Jose Felix and Brandon Snyder with runners on second and third to end the sixth.

Jepsen, slowed for much of March by triceps tightness, gave up two singles to open the seventh and hit Solarte with a pitch to load the bases with one out. But the right-hander struck out Baker and got Borbon to fly to center, ending the inning.

Left-hander Sean Burnett also allowed two singles to open the eighth and another one-out single to load the bases. Leury Garcia hit a sacrifice fly, but Burnett got Jurickson Profar to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

“Jepsen struggled with his command but got through it, and it was the same with Burnett,” Scioscia said. “He made some good pitches to get out of a bases-loaded jam.”

Luis Rodriguez hit a run-scoring double in the third inning for the Angels, and Kaleb Cowart hit a two-run triple in the sixth.

The Angels got more encouraging news before the game when closer Ryan Madson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, completed a 40-pitch bullpen session, throwing his last eight pitches “at 100%,” Scioscia said.

Madson, who will open the season on the disabled list, also threw changeups off the mound for the first time. He hopes to be ready for a minor league rehabilitation assignment by mid-April.

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